'Tis the season to be overeating --- and shamelessly stuffing your face with tasty meatballs. Maybe even putting some major jingle in your pocket. Fort Lauderdale'sCafé Martorano
will hold a meatball eating contest December 10 at theSeminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood.
The event is free to watch or enter, and prize booty totals $3,000.
Don't let visions of sugar plum sumo wrestlers dance in your head and keep you from entering. You don't have to be an exceptionally large person to have an exceptionally large appetite.
For example, signed contender and seasoned eater Adrian Morgan carries a mere 195 pounds on his 6'1" frame. Morgan, a gym rat, works out three to four times a week, a boon, he says, to his sleek physique as well as his eating capacity.
Morgan may be the eater to beat. He has scarfed 18.5
peanut butter and banana sandwiches in 10 minutes and a record-setting
20 hardboiled eggs in 84 seconds,
So, how does one get ready for such an epic pig-out?
"Some people get ready by eating the contest food, but I don't, " Morgan said. "I just try to eat healthy."
Healthy? Really? Hmmm. What exactly qualifies as "healthy" to a living,
breathing Insinkerator who rclaims he "will eat anything. I mean, anything."
"Lots of salad and fruit, like watermelon. Melons are good," Morgan
said, explaining his version of healthy. He added that his recovery
process is the same, except he drinks "lots and lots of water" to
counter the mega-dose of sodium he typically ingests in one speed eating
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A Baton Rouge native, he also mentioned this will be his first=ever trip
to South Florida. Café Martorano is hosting the event for the first time. In two prior years, it was held in Las Vegas. Proprietor Steve Martorano, a Fort Lauderdale resident, decided to move
the contest closer to home. His restaurant's fare was once hailed as the "best meatball in the world." by Gourmet magazine,
Martorano confirmed that the event's timing does indeed pay homage to
the season. The football season, that is, not the holidays.
The contest will take place the same day the Philadelphia Eagles face
the Miami Dolphins. The two teams represent Martorano's former and
current residences. His intention, he said, is to "bring a little bit of
my hometown of Philly" to his restaurant's location at Hollywood's
Seminole Hard Rock.
Fans of each team will be chosen onsite to compete in a preliminary
eating contest before the "Martorano Masters" take the stage at 5 p.m.
for the main event. Games, a DJ and live music are also on tap.
Want to go? To register for Martorano's meatball eating contest, visit the MLE"S website at ifoce.com.
Want to practice with the real deal? Check out Martorano's genuine meatball recipe here:
Martorano's Famous Meatballs
1 lb. Beef
1 lb. Veal
1 lb. Pork
2 Large Eggs
2 Cups Finely Chopped Fresh Italian Parsley
2 Cups Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
1 Cup Italian-style Progresso Bread Crumbs
1 Loaf day-old Italian Bread
Crushed Black Pepper
Granulated Garlic Powder
1. Use 1 pound each of veal, beef and pork and mix them together. Crack
two large eggs into a bowl and whisk them together. Pour the eggs into
the meat mixture. Add crushed black pepper, Kosher salt, granulated
garlic powder, 2 cups finely chopped fresh Italian parsley, 2 cups of
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and 1 cup of Italian-style Progresso bread
2. Get a loaf of day-old Italian bread and break it into smaller pieces.
Soak the bread in warm water until it's soft, then squeeze all the
water out. Really squeeze the water out! Add the bread to the meat
mixture and mix everything together.
3. Roll a 4-ounce ball or whatever size you like.
4. Fill a deep pan halfway with vegetable oil and make sure the oil is
hot before adding the meatballs. To test the oil, take a small piece of
meat from a meatball and throw it in the oil. If the meat begins to fry,
it's ready to go.
5. Working in batches, brown the meatballs for 3 minutes on one side and
then 3 minutes on the other side. This is the secret to a great
Marorano's note: It's important to never put your meatballs in marinara
sauce. You need a Sunday Gravy because that's what puts it over the top.
The sausage, the pork, the pigs' feet, the pigs' skin, the braciole --
that's what makes the package work.
-- Joni Williams